Ubuntu – How to create a meta-package that automatically installs other packages


I'd like to be able to create a package that doesnt contain any code or programs itself, but instead installs other packages that exist in the repositories onto a computer, sort of how the ubuntu-restricted-extras package does?

Best Answer

A meta-package like this can be created with a tool called equivs which will create a package with just dependency information.

First, create a directory:

mkdir my-metapackage
cd my-metapackage/

Now run the program:

equivs-control ns-control

It will create a file called ns-control, open this file with your text editor. The control file that you generate should have its Depends or Recommends lines modified to depend on the packages that you want installed:

Section: misc
Priority: optional
Standards-Version: 3.9.1

Package: my-metapackage
Version: 1.0   
Depends: openssh-server, gedit
Description: This package installes an ssh server and a text editor
 The Long description of this package ends with a newline!

(Just an example, you should include more information)

And finally, build the package by running

equivs-build ns-control

Your package is located at my-metapackage/my-metapackage_1.0_all.deb.

If you wish to also create a source package, the --full option can be passed to equivs-build, e.g. equivs-build --full ns-control. This will use debuild & also create .dsc & .tar.gz files.

To create a source .changes file that you can upload to a PPA, extract & build the source package with

dpkg-source -x my-metapackage_1.0.dsc
cd my-metapackage-1.0
debuild -S

If the Maintainer that you set in ns-control matches your GPG key, it should build & sign the my-metapackage_1.0_source.changes file for you to dput to your PPA